SA group fails in Obama arrest application

2013-06-26 17:51
Barack Obama (File, AP)

Barack Obama (File, AP)

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Johannesburg - Two South African groups were trying to obtain arrest warrants on Wednesday for US President Barack Obama, who will visit the country later this week.

Mohamed Hussain Vawda, of the Society for the Protection of our Constitution, said he had brought charges against Obama of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Lawyers' Association (MLA) made an urgent application to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday for Obama's arrest, but the application was dismissed.

Vawda said his organisation had taken a different route to that of the MLA.

"There are so many groups of people opposing this visit... and the conduct of Mr Obama," he said.

In an affidavit stamped by the Barberton police, Vawda claimed Obama was directly and indirectly responsible for killing and injuring more than 3 000 people, including women and 176 children, in countries which "have been no threat to the US", such as Pakistan and Syria.

Drone deaths

He accused Obama of ordering or sanctioning the use of unmanned aerial drones to kill people the US government considered a threat to the country's safety.

"These attacks are not authorised in terms of orders issued in a court of law."

Vawda said the victims were killed on the basis of "mere accusations levelled against them".

"There is no judicial oversight to determine if these persons are indeed guilty of any alleged crimes. They are deprived of a hearing. There is no accountability at all, just simple brazen murder."

Vawda claimed the targets were mainly followers of the Islamic faith, and said this amounted to genocide.

"The urgency of this matter must be dealt with seriously," he said.

He said he had not yet received a response from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The NPA could not be reached for comment.

Eyewitness News reported that, in dismissing the Muslim Lawyers' Association's (MLA) application, the North Gauteng High Court found that the case was not urgent, but did not rule on the merits of the case.

Obama arrives in South Africa on Friday as part of a three-state Africa tour.

"We’re very disappointed in the decision and be that as it may, we remain hopeful that on review, we’ll be successful," MLA spokesperson Yousha Tayob told the broadcaster.

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